The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) have released a statement clarifying signposting provisions to The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) and The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS).
In the statement, the DWP and TPR specify that all complaints and disputes about workplace and personal pension schemes should go to TPO and general requests for information and guidance should be handled by TPAS.
The statement confirms that, despite the lack of legislation, the DWP and TPR do not feel that penalties should be considered for pension schemes referring disputes and complaints to TPO that have not initially gone through the schemes internal dispute resolution process.
Pensions Ombudsman, Anthony Arter commented: “This is very welcome news for the pensions industry. Since TPAS’ dispute resolution function transferred to TPO in March 2018, there has been some understandable reluctance on the part of schemes to change their signposting and risk non-compliance with existing legislation. This clarifies the situation for everyone.”
TPO legal director, Claire Ryan added: “This announcement is incredibly helpful for customers of both TPO and TPAS. We are delighted that DWP and TPR have joined forces to embrace an immediate workaround to the current legislative constraints.”
The DWP are aiming to make these legislative changes by April 2020.